Iain Dale blogged last night that the Sunday Mirror has commissioned a poll that shows the BNP are going to be the main opposition party in Barking after May 4th.
Whilst the poll may - sadly - turn out to be true, I think this surge for the BNP in the last week has its source soley in Maragaret Hodge's irresponsible comments. My gut says that she only said what she did to energise the Labour turnout. I say this because what I've heard on the doorsteps from known Labour voters has tended towards apathy. I think Labour are scared about their vote not turning out, Hodge's comment was an attempt to address that.
The problem is, by saying what she did, she created a self-fulfilling prophecy. People were'nt going to vote BNP until they were told that people were saying they were going to vote BNP. The oxygen of publicity has had it's effect and it wasn't the one that Hodge hoped for. That's why other ministers got on tv and radio and said Hodge had over-egged the pudding on the BNP's significance.
If the BNP do well in Barking and elsewhere, it will certainly be Labour's fault. It won't be because of policy though, it'll be because of the law of unintended consequence.